Circuit de la Sarthe

Circuit de la Sarthe is the home of the famous 24hr Le Mans sports car race…


and June 2015 proved to be another amazing trip to Le Mans, these snaps may give you a flavour, I habe also posted an entry as  ‘Chateau Canteloupe’ the campsite we stay at.

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That’s 8 out of the last 9 years, first trip in 2007, only missing 2010

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Who knows what the future will bring, but now that Porsche have returned to the winning podium, what else could top 2015?

Here is the official result in case you were looking for it…

Race result[edit]

The minimum number of laps for classification (70% of the overall winning car’s race distance) was 276 laps. Class winners are denoted in bold.[57]

Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Tyre Laps
1 LMP1 19 Germany Porsche Team New Zealand Earl Bamber
United Kingdom Nick Tandy
Germany Nico Hülkenberg
Porsche 919 Hybrid M 395
Porsche 2.0 L Turbo V4
2 LMP1 17 Germany Porsche Team Germany Timo Bernhard
New Zealand Brendon Hartley
Australia Mark Webber
Porsche 919 Hybrid M 394
Porsche 2.0 L Turbo V4
3 LMP1 7 Germany Audi Sport Team Joest Germany André Lotterer
Switzerland Marcel Fässler
France Benoît Tréluyer
Audi R18 e-tron quattro M 393
Audi 4.0 L Turbo Diesel V6
4 LMP1 8 Germany Audi Sport Team Joest France Loïc Duval
Brazil Lucas di Grassi
United Kingdom Oliver Jarvis
Audi R18 e-tron quattro M 392
Audi 4.0 L Turbo Diesel V6
5 LMP1 18 Germany Porsche Team Germany Marc Lieb
France Romain Dumas
Switzerland Neel Jani
Porsche 919 Hybrid M 391
Porsche 2.0 L Turbo V4
6 LMP1 2 Japan Toyota Racing Austria Alexander Wurz
France Stéphane Sarrazin
United Kingdom Mike Conway
Toyota TS040 Hybrid M 387
Toyota 3.7 L V8
7 LMP1 9 Germany Audi Sport Team Joest Italy Marco Bonanomi
Portugal Filipe Albuquerque
Germany René Rast
Audi R18 e-tron quattro M 387
Audi 4.0 L Turbo Diesel V6
8 LMP1 1 Japan Toyota Racing United Kingdom Anthony Davidson
Switzerland Sébastien Buemi
Japan Kazuki Nakajima
Toyota TS040 Hybrid M 386
Toyota 3.7 L V8
9 LMP2 47 Hong Kong KCMG United Kingdom Matthew Howson
United Kingdom Richard Bradley
France Nicolas Lapierre
Oreca 05 D 358
Nissan VK45DE 4.5 L V8
10 LMP2 38 United Kingdom Jota Sport United Kingdom Simon Dolan
United Kingdom Oliver Turvey
New Zealand Mitch Evans
Gibson 015S D 358
Nissan VK45DE 4.5 L V8
11 LMP2 26 Russia G-Drive Racing Russia Roman Rusinov
France Julien Canal
United Kingdom Sam Bird
Ligier JS P2 D 358
Nissan VK45DE 4.5 L V8
12 LMP2 28 Russia G-Drive Racing Colombia Gustavo Yacamán
Mexico Ricardo González
Brazil Pipo Derani
Ligier JS P2 D 354
Nissan VK45DE 4.5 L V8
13 LMP2 48 Republic of Ireland Murphy Prototypes France Nathanaël Berthon
India Karun Chandhok
United States Mark Patterson
Oreca 03R D 347
Nissan VK45DE 4.5 L V8
14 LMP2 27 Russia SMP Racing Italy Maurizio Mediani
Russia David Markozov
France Nicolas Minassian
BR Engineering BR01 M 340
Nissan VK45DE 4.5 L V8
15 LMP2 31 United States Extreme Speed Motorsports United States Ed Brown
United States Johannes van Overbeek
United States Jon Fogarty
Ligier JS P2 D 339
Honda HR28TT 2.8 L Turbo V6
16 LMP2 45 San Marino Ibañez Racing France José Ibañez
France Pierre Perret
Italy Ivan Bellarosa
Oreca 03R D 337
Nissan VK45DE 4.5 L V8
64 United States Corvette RacingGM United Kingdom Oliver Gavin
United States Tommy Milner
United States Jordan Taylor
Chevrolet Corvette C7.R M 337
Chevrolet 5.5 L V8
18 LMP1 13 Switzerland Rebellion Racing Switzerland Alexandre Imperatori
Austria Dominik Kraihamer
Germany Daniel Abt
Rebellion R-One M 336
AER P60 2.4 L Turbo V6
19 LMP2 29 Germany Pegasus Racing France Léo Roussel
China Ho-Pin Tung
China David Cheng
Morgan LMP2 M 334
Nissan VK45DE 4.5 L V8
72 Russia SMP Racing Russia Viktor Shaitar
Russia Aleksey Basov
Italy Andrea Bertolini
Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 M 332
Ferrari 4.5 L V8
71 Italy AF Corse Italy Davide Rigon
United Kingdom James Calado
Monaco Olivier Beretta
Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 M 332
Ferrari 4.5 L V8
77 Germany DempseyProton Racing United States Patrick Dempsey
United States Patrick Long
Germany Marco Seefried
Porsche 911 RSR M 331
Porsche 4.0 L Flat-6
23 LMP1 12 Switzerland Rebellion Racing France Nicolas Prost
Germany Nick Heidfeld
Switzerland Mathias Beche
Rebellion R-One M 330
AER P60 2.4 L Turbo V6
62 United States Scuderia Corsa United States Bill Sweedler
United States Townsend Bell
United States Jeff Segal
Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 M 330
Ferrari 4.5 L V8
51 Italy AF Corse Italy Gianmaria Bruni
Italy Giancarlo Fisichella
Finland Toni Vilander
Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 M 330
Ferrari 4.5 L V8
83 Italy AF Corse France François Perrodo
France Emmanuel Collard
Portugal Rui Águas
Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 M 330
Ferrari 4.5 L V8
95 United Kingdom Aston Martin Racing Denmark Christoffer Nygaard
Denmark Nicki Thiim
Denmark Marco Sørensen
Aston Martin V8 Vantage GTE M 330
Aston Martin 4.5 L V8
28 LMP2 30 United States Extreme Speed Motorsports United States Scott Sharp
United Kingdom Ryan Dalziel
Denmark David Heinemeier Hansson
Ligier JS P2 D 329
Honda HR28TT 2.8 L Turbo V6
29 LMP2 35 France OAK Racing France Jacques Nicolet
France Jean-Marc Merlin
France Erik Maris
Ligier JS P2 D 328
Nissan VK45DE 4.5 L V8
91 Germany Porsche Team Manthey Austria Richard Lietz
Denmark Michael Christensen
Germany Jörg Bergmeister
Porsche 911 RSR M 327
Porsche 4.0 L Flat-6
61 Italy AF Corse United States Peter Ashley Mann
Italy Raffaele Giammaria
Italy Matteo Cressoni
Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 M 326
Ferrari 4.5 L V8
32 LMP2 40 United States Krohn Racing United States Tracy Krohn
Sweden Niclas Jönsson
Portugal João Barbosa
Ligier JS P2 M 323
Judd HK 3.6 L V8
33 LMP2 37 Russia SMP Racing Russia Mikhail Aleshin
Russia Kirill Ladygin
Russia Anton Ladygin
BR Engineering BR01 M 322
Nissan VK45DE 4.5 L V8
99 United Kingdom Aston Martin Racing V8 Brazil Fernando Rees
United Kingdom Alex MacDowall
New Zealand Richie Stanaway
Aston Martin V8 Vantage GTE M 320
Aston Martin 4.5 L V8
68 Taiwan Team AAI Taiwan Han-Chen Chen
France Gilles Vannelet
France Mike Parisy
Porsche 911 RSR M 320
Porsche 4.0 L Flat-6
66 United Kingdom JMW Motorsport Poland Kuba Giermaziak
United States Michael Avenatti
Saudi Arabia Abdulaziz al Faisal
Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 D 320
Ferrari 4.5 L V8
67 Taiwan Team AAI Taiwan Jun-San Chen
Netherlands Xavier Maassen
United Kingdom Alex Kapadia
Porsche 911 GT3 RSR M 316
Porsche 4.0 L Flat-6
98 United Kingdom Aston Martin Racing Canada Paul Dalla Lana
Portugal Pedro Lamy
Austria Mathias Lauda
Aston Martin V8 Vantage GTE M 321
Aston Martin 4.5 L V8
NC[N 5] LMP1 22 Japan Nissan Motorsports United Kingdom Harry Tincknell
United Kingdom Alex Buncombe
Germany Michael Krumm
Nissan GT-R LM Nismo M 242
Nissan VRX30A 3.0 L Turbo V6
DNF LMP2 34 France OAK Racing Canada Chris Cumming
France Kévin Estre
Belgium Laurens Vanthoor
Ligier JS P2 D 329
Honda HR28TT 2.8 L Turbo V6
53 United States Riley MotorsportsTI Auto Netherlands Jeroen Bleekemolen
United States Ben Keating
United States Marc Miller
Dodge Viper SRT GTS-R M 304
Dodge 8.0 L V10
DNF LMP2 42 United Kingdom Strakka Racing United Kingdom Nick Leventis
United Kingdom Jonny Kane
United Kingdom Danny Watts
Strakka Dome S103 M 264
Nissan VK45DE 4.5 L V8
55 Italy AF Corse United Kingdom Duncan Cameron
United Kingdom Alex Mortimer
Republic of Ireland Matt Griffin
Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 M 241
Ferrari 4.5 L V8
DNF LMP1 23 Japan Nissan Motorsports United Kingdom Max Chilton
United Kingdom Jann Mardenborough
France Olivier Pla
Nissan GT-R LM Nismo M 234
Nissan VRX30A 3.0 L Turbo V6
DNF LMP2 46 France Thiriet by TDS Racing France Pierre Thiriet
France Ludovic Badey
France Tristan Gommendy
Oreca 05 D 204
Nissan VK45DE 4.5 L V8
96 United Kingdom Aston Martin Racing Germany Roald Goethe
United Kingdom Stuart Hall
Italy Francesco Castellacci
Aston Martin V8 Vantage GTE M 187
Aston Martin 4.5 L V8
DNF LMP2 43 Switzerland Team SARD Morand France Pierre Ragues
United Kingdom Oliver Webb
Switzerland Zoël Amberg
Morgan LMP2 Evo D 162
SARD 3.6 L V8
DNF LMP1 21 Japan Nissan Motorsports Japan Tsugio Matsuda
Spain Lucas Ordóñez
Russia Mark Shulzhitskiy
Nissan GT-R LM Nismo M 115
Nissan VRX30A 3.0 L Turbo V6
DNF LMP2 36 France Signatech Alpine France Nelson Panciatici
France Paul-Loup Chatin
France Vincent Capillaire
Alpine A450b D 110
Nissan VK45DE 4.5 L V8
97 United Kingdom Aston Martin Racing United Kingdom Darren Turner
Germany Stefan Mücke
United Kingdom Rob Bell
Aston Martin V8 Vantage GTE M 110
Aston Martin 4.5 L V8
50 France Larbre Compétition Italy Gianluca Roda
Italy Paolo Ruberti
Denmark Kristian Poulsen
Chevrolet Corvette C7.R M 94
Chevrolet 5.5 L V8
DNF LMP2 41 United Kingdom Greaves Motorsport Switzerland Gary Hirsch
United Kingdom Jon Lancaster
France Gaëtan Paletou
Gibson 015S D 71
Nissan VK45DE 4.5 L V8
88 Germany Abu Dhabi-Proton Racing Germany Christian Ried
Austria Klaus Bachler
United Arab Emirates Khalid Al Qubaisi
Porsche 911 RSR M 44
Porsche 4.0 L Flat-6
92 Germany Porsche Team Manthey France Patrick Pilet
France Frédéric Makowiecki
Germany Wolf Henzler
Porsche 911 RSR M 14
Porsche 4.0 L Flat-6
EX[N 6] LMP1 4 Austria Team ByKolles Switzerland Simon Trummer
Germany Pierre Kaffer
Portugal Tiago Monteiro
CLM P1/01 M 260
AER P60 2.4 L Turbo V6
63 United States Corvette RacingGM Denmark Jan Magnussen
Spain Antonio García
Australia Ryan Briscoe
Chevrolet Corvette C7.R M
Chevrolet 5.5 L V8



Chateau Chanteloup

Chateau Chanteloup is a beautiful campsite in rural France, set on the outskirts of Sille le Phillipe and handily situated for the annual pilgramage to the 24hr sports car race at Le Mans.

The real winner
The real winner, campsite bar in background.
1926 Bentley 3 Litre


Welcome at Château de Chanteloup

Chanteloup is located in the middle of a typical French countryside where you will profit from a remarkable site and a preserved environment. 20 hectares of meadows and wood, water spots and lawns where no recent buildings disturb this perfect ordinance.

We have been to this campsite for eight out of the last ten trips to Le Mans – and every year, Dominique adds something new and improves on perfection.

Each year also, we manage to add on motoring exotica to match the surroundings. 2015 was no different, the mixture of Bentley, Porsche, Ferrari, Mclaren, Jaguar and TVR to our tented village made it a special year indeed!

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You will go for a walk or for a ride on the paths of the park. You will be able to fish and canoe on the pond with the small boats placed gracefully at your disposal. The in love ones with cars will go to the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans track and will visit its Museum impossible to circumvent.

Chanteloup is in limit of the Pole Resident of Sarthe, recognized Regional Tourist Pôle and which profits from the label “Country of art and history”. From Chanteloup you will leave to discovered the strengthened churches and castels. You will discover the Ferté-Bernard called “Venice of the West” or Montmirail, which is classified as “small city of character”.

The history of Chanteloup

The history of Chanteloup goes back to 1400 even if the two main buildings date respectively from 1815 regarding the Castle, and 15th and 19th centuries for the “Orangery” (the building close to the pond).

As far as the Castle is concerned, it was built in 1850 by the Viscountess Ogier d’Ivry who had two sons but only one castle. She thus built Chanteloup for her second son. The manor house is from a Classic Style, Louis the XVI’s time. The mansion remains pleasant to live and particularly during the family celebrations.

The Souffront family acquired Chanteloup in 1960 with its park of 20 hectares as a second home, and started the campsite business in 1974. Before this activity, the outbuildings were used as a farm with cows, pigs, pheasants and chickens. The 5 lodgings fitted out in the Old Orangerie and the farm buildings have been progessivley constructed between 1995 and 2004. Throughout the year, three persons are working full-time to maintain the park and the buildingds.

Dominique Souffront, the manager of the family business-, the family members and all the staff will be happy to welcome you  and will do their utmost to make your stay a most enjoyable one.


Èze, a renowned tourist hotspot on the French Riviera



Èze, renowned tourist hotspot on the French Riviera, is famous worldwide for the view of the sea from its hill top. Its Jardin botanique d’Èze is known for its collection of cacti and succulents, as well as its panoramic views. Walt Disney spent a significant amount of time in Èze; and so did we in 2010 and 2011!

This coastline is amazing and best explored from the water and my yacht.

My large yacht in Monte Carlo
My large yacht in Monte Carlo

Joking of course, it was far too big to get close to the beach, so we hired a car and left her in Monaco…

My prefered method of  transport
My prefered method of transport
Beautiful views out across the Med
Beautiful views out across the Med

The oldest building in the village is the Chapelle de la Sainte Croix and dates back to 1306. Members of the lay order of the White Penitents of Èze, in charge of giving assistance to plague victims, would hold their meetings there. The shape of the bell-turret is an indication that the village once belonged to the Republic of Genoa.
The small medieval village is famous for its beauty and charm. Its many shops, art galleries, hotels and restaurants attract a large number of tourists and honeymooners. As a result Èze has become dubbed by some a village-musée, a “museum village”, as few residents of local origin live here. From Èze there are gorgeous views of the Mediterranean Sea.
The motto of the village is the phrase Isis Moriendo Renascor (meaning “In death I am Reborn”) and its emblem is a phoenix perched on a bone.
The local dialect (nearly extinct) is similar to the Monégasque language of the nearby Principality of Monaco, and is related to Ligurian but with some influences from the Occitan language.
Èze is one of thirteen villages grouped together by the Communauté d’agglomération de Nice-Côte d’Azur tourist department as the Route des Villages Perchés (Route of Perched Villages). The others are: Aspremont, Castagniers, Coaraze, Colomars, Duranus, Falicon, La Gaude, La Roquette, Levens, Saint-Blaise, Saint-Jeannet and Tourrette-Levens.[3]

This rather grainy image was taken on my iphone looking across to Cap Ferrat – how technology has improved!


A long way down, there is a fantastic beach to frollick in the surf on.
A long way down, there is a fantastic beach to frollick in the surf on.
You are up in the clouds, it's not always sunny!
You are up in the clouds, it’s not always sunny!







Nothing nicer than hopping out of bed and going for a dip in a pool with a view!

The pool from the balcony
The pool from the balcony


In the evening, this is a special place to be…

On a cloudy day we drove to nearby Monaco, not one of more favoured places, but nice to watch the world go by…










All in all, a nice place to visit, take your wallet and find a friend with a posh villa; that is my top travel tip.

Italian trains, wine but no wi-fi

just saying…

We spent most of the day yesterday on an a train of some sort, some good, some better than good, none as pleasant as a Swiss train though sadly!

Starting in Paris very early, we got a long way in a very short time t0 Lyon (250 miles) in 1 hour 40 minutes to be exact….

Once in Italy, although armed with waiter service and a nicer train, there was a lack of wi-fi even in first class, and a seemingly pedestrian pace to our travel – I could have cycled it quicker in fact.

So why then does it take a further seven hours to go as far again?

I think the answer is something to do with the Alps…who put them there?

Paris from Pompidou
Paris from Pompidou
Pompidou view 2
Pompidou view 2
Gare du Lyon
Gare du Lyon
all day on a slow train
all day on a slow train
first ice cream of the trip
first ice cream of the trip
Platform 4, not Platform 2
Platform 4, not Platform 2

Big Amarone
Big Amarone
Verona at last



Le Mans and the Nissan Note, June 2007

Le Mans is one of my favourite places.

DSCN3621A city in France, located on the Sarthe River, traditionally the capital of the province of Maine, it is the seat of the Roman Catholic diocese of Le Mans and part of the Pays de la Loire region.

Le Mans has been host to the 24 Hours of Le Mans sports car race since 1923. And that is why we come back every year.


Le Mans flickr

2007 was my initial outing, setting off in my treasured Porsche 964, but arriving in the mighty Nissan Note.

The end of the line - 80 miles north of Dover

Sadly the Porker fell to bits 80 miles north of Dover.

DSCN3688Failing to get there was not an option, a Nissan Note was hired and the Porsche went off to Porsche Centre Colchester where a new alternator and fan was fitted under warrantly – it has to be noted that after this dismal display 4 months into ownership, this car behaved itself for a further seven years and 25,000 miles, surviving a further five trips to Le Mans.

DSCN3566This trip was to be my introduction to camping at Chateau de Chanteloup, a tranquil camp site 15 km away from the noise of the circuit at Sille-le-Phillippe.

Stuffed with car nuts and a very late opening bar, this amazing venue is always very busy at Le Mans 24 weekend in June, being the home to some beautiful machinery and run by a top chap; Dominique Souffront, and his team.


The sports car show on Friday night before the race is always good fun.

DSCN3534The race itself was an overall win for Audi, ahead of two Peugeot’s – a wet affair that was no fun to watch after my beloved Flyling Lizard Porsches in 911 RSR’s had gone out, leaving Aston Martin to win in GT1


Its not always beer and sunshine, sometimes its beer and rain…


This Audi R10 #2 with a certain Mr McNish at the wheel was to set the fastest lap but drop out after 262 laps, its stable mate Audi R10 #1 taking overall victory, completing 369 laps crossing the line with Frank Biela at the wheel.

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If you love motorsport, you should go here; if you don’t, you should still go at least once. This is a special place for a crazy weekend of noise, fun and sport.

I will be returning to Le Mans every year, and a lot of fun will be had.

The photos will get better, I promise – this first year was I think all recorded on a small Leica C-LUX 2, I will return with a Nikon D200 in 2008.